Preventing Corruption and Misuse of Public Office: Role of Law Teachers
Paper presented at the 2013 CLEA Conference in Durban
Dean of Law, National Open University of Nigeria, Lagos, Nigeria
Corruption and abuse of office are not recent phenomena in Nigeria. They constitute the offering or receiving of money or gifts illegally to gain some benefits, or advantage either personally, or for someone else, contrary to the rights of others or inconsistently with ones official duty. The perception is such that corruption, has reached an epidemic proportion, having eaten deep into the fabric of the Nigerian society. The Transparency Corruption Perception Index rated Nigeria the second most corrupt country in 2001, and 139th out of 176 world countries in 2012. Conversely, the Official Statistics of Crimes shows that bribery and corruption are little known in Nigeria. For example, in Lagos State, Nigeria’s Centre of Excellence and Commercial hub, which contributes largest to the national annual crime budget, the twin multi-faceted offences is 1 (one) in every 1000 (or more precisely 6 in every 5000) crimes (1967-2011). In fact, the yearly average raw figure of cases of corruption has been 49 during the military regimes (1967-1999) and 17 in the democratic dispensation (2000-2011). Yet corruption as early as 1972 had begun to breed violence and acquire international or transnational dimension especially in the petroleum and natural gas sector. Revolutionary regimes terminated civil administration and over other revolutionary regime on allegations of corruption. The result is a waning enthusiasm and faith in the state and no solution in sight. The disparity between perception, Official Crime Statistics, and reality is extreme and its abridgement lies on Legal Education and the legal profession. The thrust of this paper therefore is to locate the mean or scientific explanation, without which ones knowledge of the problem and by implication the diagnosis and prognosis could be of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind.